Combatting Sexual Harassment in Your Restaurant

The restaurant industry is definitely not immune to the devastating effects of sexual harassment. And in some scenarios, restaurant workers are more susceptible to it. One way to combat sexual harassment in your restaurant is by implementing an ethics hotline. But first, you’ll have to recognize the many risks factors and signs that your staff could be victims.

Sexual Harassment within the Restaurant Industry is Prevalent

Across every U.S. industry and business segment, some data suggests more sexual harassment claims are filed among restaurants than any other. One 2018 report showed as many as 70% of men and 90% of women reported experiencing some form of or encounter with sexual harassment. Because harassment can take many forms, including offensive slurs or jokes, name-calling, intimidation, work interference, and ridicule, it’s far more challenging for the business owner to control alone.

Women Are More Often Victims

The sexual harassment numbers for both men and women are both high for the restaurant industry. But other data suggests women are more likely to be victims of harassment than men since 71% of servers are women, while the majority of management roles are occupied by men. A normalization of bad behavior has plagued the restaurant industry, likely contributing to the increased turnover among staff.

Clients Are Bad Apples, Too

Some restaurant owners feel as though they run a tight ship, commanding respect among employees at every level, with minimal incidents of any kind of harassment. But sexual harassment doesn’t just come from within; it can also come from guests and patrons of your establishment. And in a culture where “the customer’s always right” driven by the tips system of income, some waitstaff feel they have no choice but to tolerate line-crossing patrons.

Restaurant Staff Are Desperate for Revenue

Many restaurant owners are oblivious to instances of sexual harassment because workers need the money. They need their jobs and the tips that come with a busy night of waiting tables or serving drinks. And those same restaurant owners would immediately take action if only they knew what was happening behind their backs. It’s for this reason and so many others that the ethics hotline makes sense.

Restaurant Owners Have Enough Challenges

You might have transitioned your restaurant to offer curbside pickup or doorstep delivery. In which case, you probably had to pivot your offerings and your teams to take on these new responsibilities. You have weathered closures and social distancing requirements, mask mandates, and quarantined closures. Don’t let sexual harassment sneak in while you’re busy managing everything else. Consider adding an ethics hotline to your operations as an added safety measure for confidential reporting.

Whether your restaurant is known for having the early bird special on Thursday evenings, is the hopping place to be on Saturday nights, or serves the best pancakes on Sunday morning, you could benefit from an ethics hotline. Protect your teams from others, customers included, and provide a safe and effective method of anonymous reporting. The more you learn about your restaurant’s risks, the better prepared you can be to tackle and manage them.

Let Ethical Advocate help get your establishment’s ethics hotline on track today!